Just wondering, as I open what’s hopefully the last bag of milk powder for our two lambs, what do people do to wean their bottle fed lambs? Reduce volume, or frequency, or both? Currently on three feeds totalling a little over a litre a day. I’m not sure that it matters a whole lot. I’m sure they’d survive regardless. But am interested what others do.
After 8 weeks, so at 9 weeks, cut back to 2 feeds of about 400 ml, then at 11 weeks one feed of 400 ml. Stop after (at the end of ) 12 weeks or when the lambs are 20 kg whichever comes last.
I just drop one feed, so instead of 3x a day drop down to 2 feeds. I dont increase the volume of each feed though. I keep each feed a max of 350ml. Then after a while drop down to once a day. If the lambs are away from other animals you could supply lamb meal if you wish
When weaning bottle/hand reared calves and lambs, I attempt to keep it within the precincts of what would happen in nature.
For lambs, by the time weaning comes around they will be down to two feeds a day and eating grass. I do it gently - start dropping the morning feed and when that is down to about half, start dropping the evening feed. I do it in 50ml increments over a period of several weeks. If nothing else, it saves my ears and makes for an easy weaning. Really, it's up to you as to how you go about it - I want it to be as stress free as possible for both them and me.
Plus if they are in a paddock with others and feel they are missing out they will try to steal from other ewes, I just take no notice and let them as they then learn to eat more grass and that its a normal process.
We have one bottle lamb this year.
She's currently 2 months old and being fed 2 x 350ml a day. She's also now eating a mouthful of sheepnuts at each feed.
I usually feed bottle lambs twice a day at 350ml between 2 & 2 1/2 months old, then drop back to once a day at 350 at 3 months, stopping bottles altogether at 3 1/2 months. Given also a bit of observation that they are grazing steadily and gaining weight.
This lamb was sick at a week old & has been treated for joint ill. She's now growing like a weed and certainly could not be crammed back into the cat cage I used to take her to the vet six weeks ago!
their mum's don't do it cold turkey and that's good enough for me no matter what the experts say. We had twins whose mother died at about 9 weeks and we couldn't catch them to offer bottles so we let them be. yes they grieved and tried to steal with little luck but did not do well for a long time afterwards..